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World Conference on Higher Education: The New …

Trends in Global Higher Education: Tracking an Academic Revolution A Report Prepared for the UNESCO 2009 World Conference on Higher Education Executive Summary




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Trends in Global Higher Education:Tracking an Academic RevolutionA Report Prepared for the UNESCO 2009 World Conference on Higher EducationExecutive SummaryPhilip G. AltbachLiz ReisbergLaura E. RumbleyPublished with support from SIDA/SARECTrends in Global Higher Education:Tracking an Academic RevolutionExecutive SummaryA Report Prepared for the UNESCO 2009 World Conference on Higher EducationPhilip G. AltbachLiz ReisbergLaura E. 18/06/2009 11:40 Page 1The editors and authors are responsible for the choice and presentation of the factscontained in this document and for the opinions expressed therein, which are notnecessarily those of UNESCO and do not commit the designations employed and the presentation of the material throughout thisdocument do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part ofUNESCO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of itsauthorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or in 2009by the United Nations Educational,Scientific and Cultural Organization7, place de Fontenoy, 75352 Paris 07 SPSet and printed in the workshops of UNESCOGraphic design - photos UNESCO/A. Abbe UNESCO/M. Loncarevic UNESCO/V. M. C. UNESCO 2009Printed in 18/06/2009 11:40 Page 2Executive SummaryAn academic revolution has taken place in higher education in the past half centurymarked by transformations unprecedented in scope and diversity. Comprehendingthis ongoing and dynamic process while being in the midst of it is not an easy , the developments of the recent past are at least as dramatic as those in the19th century when the research university evolved, first in Germany and thenelsewhere, and fundamentally redesigned the nature of the university worldwide. Theacademic changes of the late 20th and early 21st centuries are more extensive dueto their global nature and the number of institutions and people they affect. This report is especially devoted to examining the changes that have taken place sincethe 1998 UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education. While many trendsincluded in this report were discussed in 1998, they have intensified in the pastdecade. Here we examine the main engines of change and their impact on highereducation. Much of this report is concerned with the ways in which higher education hasresponded to the challenge of massification. The "logic" of massification is inevitableand includes greater social mobility for a growing segment of the population, newpatterns of funding higher education, increasingly diversified higher education systemsin most countries, generally an overall lowering of academic standards, and othertendencies. Like many of the trends addressed in this report, while massification is nota new phase, at this "deeper stage" of ongoing revolution in higher education it mustbe considered in different ways. At the first stage, higher education systems struggledjust to cope with demand, the need for expanded infrastructure and a larger teachingiExecutive 18/06/2009 11:40 Page iiicorps. During the past decade systems have begun to wrestle with the implicationsof diversity and to consider which subgroups are still not being included andappropriately the early 21st century, higher education has become a competitive enterprise. Inmany countries students must compete for scarce places in universities and in allcountries admission to the top institutions has become more difficult. Universitiescompete for status and ranking, and generally for funding from governmental orprivate sources. While competition has always been a force in academe and can helpproduce excellence, it can also contribute to a decline in a sense of academiccommunity, mission and traditional values. The impact of globalizationGlobalization, a key reality in the 21st century, has already profoundly influencedhigher education. We define globalization as the reality shaped by an increasinglyintegrated world economy, new information and communications technology (ICT),the emergence of an international knowledge network, the role of the Englishlanguage, and other forces beyond the control of academic is defined as the variety of policies and programs that universitiesand governments implement to respond to globalization. These typically includesending students to study abroad, setting up a branch campus overseas, or engagingin some type of inter-institutional have always been affected by international trends and to a certain degreeoperated within a broader international community of academic institutions, scholars,and research. Yet, 21st century realities have magnified the importance of the globalcontext. The rise of English as the dominant language of scientific communication isunprecedented since Latin dominated the academy in medieval Europe. Informationand communications technologies have created a universal means of instantaneouscontact and simplified scientific communication. At the same time, these changes havehelped to concentrate ownership of publishers, databases, and other key resources inthe hands of the strongest universities and some multinational companies, locatedalmost exclusively in the developed world. For some the impact of globalization on higher education offers exciting newopportunities for study and research no longer limited by national boundaries. Forothers the trend represents an assault on national culture and autonomy. It 18/06/2009 11:40 Page iiiiiundoubtedly both. At the very least, with million students, countless scholars,degrees and universities moving about the globe freely there is a pressing need forinternational cooperation and agreements. But agreements on, for example,international benchmarks and standards to properly evaluate unfamiliar foreignqualifications are not reached has been very prominent at regional and international level. TheBologna Process and Lisbon Strategy in Europe are the clearest examples ofinternational engagement at this level, with the first drawing more than 40 countriesinto a voluntary process of enabling a European Higher Education Area. This hasbecome a reference for similar efforts elsewhere in the world (ENLACES in LatinAmerica, development of a harmonization strategy in the African Union, BrisbaneCommuniqu initiative launched by twenty-seven countries in the Asia-Pacific region,discussions by ministers of education in South East Asia). The last decade has also seen a veritable explosion in numbers of programs andinstitutions that are operating internationally. Qatar, Singapore and the United ArabEmirates stand out as examples of countries that have boldly promotedinternationalization as a matter of national policies: they have recruited prestigiousforeign universities to establish local campuses, with the goal of expanding access forthe local student population and serving as higher education "hubs" for their for the world's poorest countries and most resource-deprived institutions, theopportunities to engage internationally can be extremely limited. Inequality among national higher education systems as well as within countries hasincreased in the past several decades. The academic world has always beencharacterized by centers and peripheries. The strongest universities, usually becauseof their research prowess and reputation for excellence, are seen as centers. Africanuniversities for example, have found it extremely challenging and complex to findtheir footing on the global higher education stage - they barely register on worldinstitutional rankings and league tables and produce a tiny percentage of the world'sresearch is growing tension around the center-periphery dynamic. Developing countriesoften desire world-class universities on par with the traditional universities at "thecenter". The rankings of academic institutions and degree programs add to thistension. International rankings favour universities that use English as the main languageof instruction and research, have a large array of disciplines and programs 18/06/2009 11:40 Page iiiExecutive Summarysubstantial research funds from government or other sources. These rankings havemethodological problems but they are widely used and influential, and show no signsof disappearing. The wealth of nations and universities plays a key role in determining the quality andcentrality of a university or academic system. This places developing countries at asignificant disadvantage, and puts special strains on most academic systems facing thedilemma of expanded enrollment and the need to support top-quality phenomenon of massificationResponding to mass demand has driven many of the key transformations of the pastdecades. This expansion has been driven by the shift to post-industrial economies, therise of service industries and the knowledge economy. The United States was the first country to achieve mass higher education, with 40%of the age cohort attending post-secondary education in 1960. While somedeveloping countries still educate fewer than 10 percent of the age group, almost allcountries have dramatically increased their participation rates. Western Europe andJapan experienced rapid growth in the 1980s, followed by the developed countriesof East Asia and Latin American countries. China and India, currently the world'slargest and third largest academic systems respectively, have been growing rapidly andwill continue to do so. Globally, the percentage of the age cohort enrolled in tertiary education has grownfrom 19% in 2000 to 26% in 2007, with the most dramatic gains in upper middle andupper income countries. There are some million tertiary students globally,roughly a 53% increase over 2000. In low-income countries tertiary-level participationhas improved only marginally, from 5% in 2000 to 7% in 2007. Sub-Saharan Africa hasthe lowest participation rate in the world (5%). In Latin America, enrolment is still lessthan half that of high-income countries. Attendance entails significant private coststhat average 60% of GDP per capita. (Figure 1) 18/06/2009 11:41 Page ivExecutive SummaryFigure 1. Tertiary gross enrolment ratio by geographical region, 2000and 2007Inequalities in accessDespite many policy initiatives in recent years broader postsecondary participationhas not benefited all sectors of society equally. A recent comparative study of 15countries shows that despite greater inclusion, the privileged classes have retainedtheir relative advantage in nearly all nations. Providing higher education to all sectors of a nation's population means confrontingsocial inequalities deeply rooted in history, culture and economic structure thatinfluence an individual's ability to compete. Geography, unequal distribution of wealthand resources all contribute to the disadvantage of certain population tends to be below national average for populations living in remote orrural areas and for indigenous groups. A number of governments have put measures in place to increase access: Mexico'sMinistry of Education has invested in the development of additional educationalservices in disadvantaged areas with some success: 90 percent of students enrolledare first in their family to pursue higher education, 40% live in economically depressedvWorldSub-Saharan AfricaSouth and West AsiaArab StatesEast Asia and the PacificCentral AsiaLatin Americaand theCaribbeanCentral andEastern EuropeNorth Americaand WesternEurope20008070605040302010-Percen t2007Note:These data include all post-secondary students (ISCED4, 5 and 6) 18/06/2009 11:41 Page vExecutive Summaryareas. Initiatives in Ghana, Kenya, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania havelowered admission cut-offs for women to increase female enrollment. The Indiangovernment obliges universities to reserve a set of spaces for "socially and backwardclasses". There has been modest improvement but participation of lower castes, ruralpopulations and Muslims lags behind the general population and lower castes tend tobe clustered in less expensive programs. In Brazil the legislature has mandateduniversities to reserve space for disabled and Afro-Brazilian in countries where enrolment is high, inequalities persist: in the United States,participation rates for minority students continue to lag behind. Community collegeshave made tertiary education more accessible but research shows that the likelihoodthat community college students will continue on to a four-year degree is largelydetermined by the socioeconomic status of the student's family, regardless of race orethnicity. Cost remains an enormous barrier to access. Even where tuition is free, students haveto bear indirect costs such as living expenses and often loss of income. Scholarships,grant and/or loan programs are demonstrating some degree of success but cannot bythemselves remove economic barriers. Fear of debt tends to be a greater deterrentfor students from poorer backgrounds. Income-contingent loan schemes (whererepayment plans are tied to post-graduation earnings) have gained popularity inAustralia, New Zealand and South Africa but are still more attractive to middle andlower-middle class students. Mexico has introduced loan programs that make theprivate sector more accessible to a broader spectrum of families. Chile has introduceda new loan program that targets students from low-income student mobilityMore than million students are studying outside their home countries. Estimatespredict the rise to 7 million international students by 2020. One of the most visibleaspects of globalization is student mobility (Figure 2). The flow of internationalstudents has been a reflection of national and institutional strategies but also thedecisions of individual students worldwide. 18/06/2009 11:41 Page viExecutive SummaryFigure 2. Number of internationally mobile students by region ofdestination, 2000 and 2007The mobility of international students involves two main trends. One consists ofstudents from Asia entering the major academic systems of North America, WesternEurope, and Australia. Countries like the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada haveadjusted visa and immigration requirements to attract foreign students, motivated toa significant degree by the desire to maintain economic competitiveness and realizefinancial gains by enrolling large numbers of full fee-paying internationals. The other iswithin the European Union as part of its various programs to encourage studentmobility. Globally, international student mobility largely reflects a South-Northphenomenon. Universities and academic systems themselves have developed many strategies tobenefit from the new global environment and attract nonresident students. Someuniversities in non-English-speaking countries have established degree programs inEnglish to attract students from other countries. Universities have establishedpartnerships with academic institutions in other countries in order to offer degree anddifferent academic programs, develop research projects, and collaborate in a varietyviiNorth America and Western EuropeEast Asia and the PacificCentral and Eastern EuropeArab StatesSub-Saharan AfricaCentral AsiaLatin America and the CaribbeanSouth and West AsiaYear 2000: total number 1,825 thousandYear 2007: total number 2,800 18/06/2009 11:41 Page viiExecutive Summaryof ways. Branch campuses, off-shore academic programs, and franchisingarrangements for academic degrees represent only a few manifestations of suchinternationalization enormous challenge confronting higher education is how to make internationalopportunities available to all equitably. The students and scholars most likely to takeadvantage of the range of new opportunities in a globalized higher educationenvironment are typically the wealthiest or otherwise socially privileged. If currenttrends of internationalization continue, the distribution of the world's wealth andtalent will be further skewed. Teaching, learning and curriculaAccess if more than 'getting through the door'. True progress depends on levels ofcompletion for all population groups. Here data is scarce. But what is clear is that anincreasingly diverse student body also creates pressure to put in place new systemsfor academic support and innovative approaches to pedagogy. Research shows howuniversity teaching influences student engagement in the classroom. Mexico hascreated new "intercultural universities" grounded in indigenous philosophies, cultures,languages and histories. Student diversity has also contributed to an increase in thepopularity of many professionally oriented programs and institutions, notably in thebusiness and ICT fields. While it is difficult to generalize globally, the mission of most institutions in mostcountries today is to teach less of the basic disciplines and offer more in the way ofprofessional programs to a far wider range of students than in the past. Questionsabout curriculum and higher education's purpose are particularly salient in developingregions where emerging economies require both specialists trained for science andtechnical professions as well as strong leaders with generalist knowledge who arecreative, adaptable, and able to give broad ethical consideration to social advances. Quality assurance, accountability and qualifications frameworks Quality assurance in higher education has risen to the top of the policy agenda inmany nations. Postsecondary education has to prepare graduates with new skills, abroad knowledge base and a range of competencies to enter a more complex andinterdependent world. Agencies throughout the world are struggling to define thesegoals in terms that can be understood and shared across borders and 18/06/2009 11:41 Page viiiExecutive SummaryGlobalization, regional integration, and the ever-increasing mobility of students andscholars have made the need for internationally recognized standards among andbetween nations more urgent. The explosive growth of both traditional institutionsand new providers raises new questions in regard to standards of quality. Quitenaturally, "consumers" of education (students, parents, employers) are demandingsome kind of certification of institutions and the qualifications they award. Mechanismsfor establishing international comparability are still new and largely untested. Although quality is a multi-dimensional concept, a pattern for evaluating highereducation has been established in most of the world. In a break from the past, thisnew pattern tends to rely on peers rather than government authorities. Institutionsare more often evaluated against their own self-defined mission than against aninstitutional model defined by a regulatory agency. In many cases, the regulatoryfunction of many government and para-statal agencies has shifted to a validating increasing emphasis is also being put on "outcomes" of higher education -evaluators are looking for new data and indicators that demonstrate that studentshave mastered specific objectives as a result of their education. OECD's Assessmentof Higher Education Learning Outcomes project, launched in 2006, focuses forexample on interaction between student and faculty, career expectations, completionand success in finding a students and programs moving across borders with increasing ease, thecomparability of educational qualifications has become a key issue in internationaldiscussions. UNESCO has facilitated the elaboration of conventions that commitsignatories to common policy and practice to ease the mobility of students withineach region. The Bologna Process reflects enormous progress in regard to theintegration of higher education in Europe by creating a common degree structure andqualifications frameworks. It aims to bring uniformity and quality assurance acrossEurope while promoting transparency, mobility, employability and student-centeredlearning. The European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education in2000 brought together many of the national quality assurance agencies in the regionand created an important forum to engage member countries in transnational qualityassurance organizations are attempting to coordinate quality assurance activities on aninternational level, many with support from the World Bank. Schemes for qualityassurance are now accepted as a fundamental part of higher education but there is aneed to integrate national, regional and international efforts. To promote 18/06/2009 11:41 Page ixExecutive Summarydialogue, UNESCO has partnered with the World Bank to create the Global Initiativefor Quality Assurance Capacity that will include members of many regional andinternational networks. With many new providers offering options for postsecondary study, it is sometimesdifficult to distinguish legitimate institutions from diploma or degree mills that makecredentials available for purchase. This further increases the urgency of internationalmechanisms for quality assurance. UNESCO has launched an online portal to guideindividuals to sources of information that will help them distinguish legitimate frombogus documents and institutions. Financing higher education and the public good-private good debateHigher education is increasingly viewed as a major engine of economic tax revenues are not keeping pace with rapidly rising costs of highereducation. The expansion of student numbers has presented a major challenge forsystems where the tradition has been to provide access to free or highly subsidizedtertiary education. In financial terms, this has become an unsustainable model, placingpressure on systems to fundamentally restructure the 'social contract' between highereducation and society at large. Parents and/or students are increasingly responsible fortuition and other fees. Tuition fees are emerging even in Europe, long the bastion offree public higher education. Traditionally, postsecondary education has been seen as a public good, contributing tosociety through educating citizens, improving human capital, encouraging civilinvolvement and boosting economic development. In the past several decades, highereducation has increasingly been seen as a private good, largely benefiting individuals,with the implication that academic institutions, and their students, should pay asignificant part of the cost of postsecondary education. Funding shortages due tomassification have also meant that higher education systems and institutions areincreasingly responsible for generating larger percentages of their own revenue. Thisdebate has intensified due not only to the financial challenges of massification but alsoto a more widespread political inclination toward greater privatization of servicesonce provided by the state. The growing emphasis on cost recovery, higher tuitionand university-industry links distracts from the traditional social role and servicefunction of higher education that are central to contemporary society. Someuniversities sponsor publishing houses, journals, house theater groups, noncommercialradio and television stations, and serve as key intellectual centers. These roles 18/06/2009 11:41 Page xExecutive Summaryparticularly important in countries with weak social and cultural outlets and fewinstitutions fostering free debate and worldwide surge in private higher education and the financing models for thissector have important implications for students and society. These trends havegenerally led to increasing austerity in universities and other postsecondary institutions(overcrowded lecture halls; outdated library holdings, less support for faculty research,deterioration of buildings, loss of secure faculty positions, faculty brain drain as themost talented faculty move abroad). The austerity has been most crippling in Sub-Saharan Africa but it is serious throughout developing countries and in countries response to these financial pressures, universities and national systems have soughtsolutions on the cost and demand side. The first - increasing class sizes and teachingloads, substituting lower cost part-time faculty for higher cost full-time academic staff- are difficult, academically problematic and heavily contested. Policy solutions on the revenue side include cost-sharing - generally associated withtuition fees and 'user charges' for room and board. Tuition fees have been introducedin countries where higher education was formerly free or nearly so (China in 1997,United Kingdom in 1998, Austria in 2001). Many countries most notably in Sub-Saharan Africa, have significantly increased charges for student living. Student grantsand scholarships have been reduced in transition countries as well as in Asia and inmany countries in Africa. A number of countries - notably Japan, the Republic ofKorea, the Philippines, Indonesia, Brazil and other countries in Latin America and EastAsia have kept the public sector small, elite and selective. Much of the costs ofexpanded participation is shifted to parents and students through the encouragementof a growing private higher education sector. Finding ways to sustain quality provision of higher education, with appropriate accessfor qualified students, will require careful planning that attends to both short- andlong-term private revolution The growth of private higher education worldwide has been one of the mostremarkable developments of the past several decades. Today some 30% of globalhigher education enrollment is private. While private higher education has existed 18/06/2009 11:41 Page xiExecutive Summarymany countries - and has traditionally been the dominant force in such East Asiacountries as Japan, the Republic of Korea, and the Philippines - it has formed a small partof higher education in most countries. Now, private higher education institutions, manyof them for-profit or quasi for-profit, represent the fastest-growing sector with over 70% private enrollment include Indonesia, Japan, the Philippinesand the Republic of Korea (Figure 3). The private sector now educates more than halfthe student population in such countries as Mexico, Brazil, and Chile. Private universitiesare rapidly expanding in Central and Eastern Europe and in the countries of the formerSoviet Union, as well as in Africa. China and India have significant private sectors as private sector is growing and garnering more attention in Africa. The Middle Eastand North Africa are also registering private education enrollment, with 'Americanuniversities' dotting the horizon in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and elsewhere. In general, the private sector is "demand absorbing", offering access to students whomight not be qualified for the public institutions or who cannot be accommodated inother universities because of overcrowding. While some selective private universitiesexist, in general the private sector serves a mass clientele and is not seen as for-profit institutions constitute a small higher education sub-sector but there isnotable growth in all developing regions. The sector is run mostly on a business model,with power and authority concentrated in boards and chief executives, faculty hold littleauthority or influence and students are seen as related trend is the privatization of public universities. Countries such as Australiaand China have been explicit in asking universities to earn more of their operatingexpenses by generating their own revenue. Besides tuition fees, public universities seeincome from research funds, income from the sale of university-related products,consulting and research services and university-industry linkages. In some cases, suchfinancial sources contribute to the commercialization of the institution and conflictswith the traditional roles of the >10<35%>35<60%>35<60%DevelopingcountriesCuba, SouthAfricaEgypt, KenyaIndia, MalaysiaBrazil, IndonesiaDevelopedcountriesGermany, NewZealandHungary,United States(none)Japan, Republicof 18/06/2009 11:41 Page xiiExecutive SummaryThe academic professionThe academic profession is under stress as never before. The need to respond to thedemands of massification has caused the average qualification for academics in manycountries to decline. It is possible that up to half of the world's university teachershave only earned a bachelor's degree (in China only 9 % of the academic professionhas doctorates, 35% in India). Many university teachers in developing countries haveonly a bachelor's degree, the number of part-time academics has also increased inmany countries - notably in Latin America, where up to 80% of the professoriate isemployed part time. In many countries universities now employ part-time professorswho have full-time appointments at other institutions (China, Vietnam, Uganda). It isalso the case that professors at state universities in much of the world help to staffthe burgeoning private higher education sector by 'moonlighting'. The variation insalaries among countries is quite significant, contributing to a brain migration tocountries that pay more. A recent study of academic salaries in 15 countries showthat full-time academic staff can survive on their salaries but they do not earn muchmore than the average salary in their country. The expansion of graduate programshas been identified as a top priority worldwide but expansion has been slow becausedemand for basic access is so great. The academic labor market has increasingly globalized, with many thousands ofacademics crossing borders for appointments at all levels. Again, the largest flow isSouth-North, with North America especially benefiting from an influx of academicsfrom many countries, including many from Europe who are seeking higher pattern of "brain drain" from the developing world has changed to some who leave their home countries now maintain more contact with theircountries of origin and, from abroad, work collaboratively with home countrycolleagues. Nonetheless, patterns of academic migration continue to work to thedisadvantage of developing countries. Some countries, including Singapore, theArabian Gulf nations, and some western European countries, Canada and the UnitedStates have policies in place to lure scholars and researchers from abroad. In terms of accountability and assessment, the professoriate has lost much of itsautonomy. The pendulum of authority in higher education has swung from theacademics to managers and bureaucrats, with significant impact on the 18/06/2009 11:41 Page xiiiExecutive SummaryThe research environmentThe three missions of the modern university - teaching, research and public service -live in constant tension with each other at different levels. Universities, to the extentthat they enjoy autonomy to develop their own plans and programs, must make hardchoices in setting priorities and allocating universities are at the pinnacle of the academic system and directly involvedin the global knowledge network. They require major expenditures to build and areexpensive to sustain. Their facilities - including laboratories, libraries and information andtechnology infrastructures - must be maintained to the highest international production in key areas - such as information technology and the life sciences- has become extremely important to national development agendas and for theprestige of individual institutions. Government support to university-based research hasincreased in recent years to order to encourage research in such fields as biotechnologyand information science. In the European Union, the share of higher educationexpenditure on R and D spending has increased consistently over the last few government sector funds directly or indirectly 72 percent of all academic researchin OECD countries. The shift from block grant funding of public universities to coverteaching and research to competition for project-specific awards that also provide forinvestment in equipment, laboratories and libraries, has contributed to the emergenceof the modern research university. The so-called triple-helix of university-government-industry linkages has resulted in important organizational changes within the offices have grown and prospered and helped to generate new income streamsfor the university. These changes have encouraged further differentiation betweeninstitutions (research only, teaching only or both). Intellectual property is a growing challenge in higher education but especially inresearch universities. Who owns knowledge? Who benefits from research?Universities, seeking to maximize revenues, want to protect intellectual property -research results that promise patents, licenses, and income. The topic often bringsinto focus the potential conflicts between those who produce research andknowledge and sponsors who may wish to control the knowledge and benefits thatcome from it. Sophisticated, university-based research is being conducted in anenvironment where there is pressure and need to commercialize knowledge, but atthe same time opposing pressure exists to treat knowledge production anddissemination as a public 18/06/2009 11:41 Page xivExecutive SummaryIn the developing world scientific and technological research after World War II waslargely a state-supported enterprise concentrated in government research has changed quite radically since the 1990s with the downfall of the SovietUnion. The most revealing change, however, has taken place in China where thetrend to fund university-based research is now more in line with the West. A numberof other developing countries are pushing forward ambitious agendas to raise theamount and quality of their research activities. In the Republic of Korea, the BrainKorea 21 plan of 1998 promoted the principle of selection and concentration ofresearch efforts within the traditional top universities. In Latin America university-based research continues to be concentrated in a few large-scale institutions. TheBrazilian system awards some 10,000 PhDs and 30,000 MA degrees each year, a 300% growth in ten years. Graduate programs are ranked in terms of their researchproductivity and financed and communications technologyIt has been said that the traditional university will be rendered obsolete byinformation technology, distance education, and other technology-inducedinnovation. The demise of the traditional university will, in our view, not take placeany time soon. There has been a profound and pervasive disconnect betweenemploying new ICTs and leveraging them to enhance quality. But major change istaking place, and it is one of the key parts of the academic transformation of the 21stcentury. The Internet has truly revolutionized how knowledge is communicated. In the world'smost developed economies, the presence of ICTs has expanded exponentially andtouched virtually all dimensions of the higher education enterprise. E-mail and onlinesocial networking spaces provide avenues for academic collaboration and jointresearch. Electronic journals have become widespread and in some fields quitesubstantive. Traditional publishers of books and journals have increasingly turned tothe Internet to distribute their publications. The open educational resourcesmovement has picked up significant momentum, providing free access to courses,curricula and pedagogical approaches not available locally. Examining the deeper implications of this trend reveals that it has exacerbated thedivision between "haves" and "have-nots". In many developing countries newtechnologies are often considered the key for increasing access to higher 18/06/2009 11:41 Page xvExecutive SummaryYet there are enormous costs and difficulties embedded in the reliance on ICTs interms of hardware, software, technical support, training and continual upgrades. Someparts of the world, particularly Africa, remain relatively underserved by high-speedInternet access. The world's poorest countries are increasingly left behind asinformation production and dissemination move down technological pathways towhich they have limited or no access. Distance education represents an area of enormous potential for higher educationsystems around the world struggling to meet the needs of growing and changingstudent populations. The distance learning landscape has been transformed by ICTs,allowing for real growth in numbers and types of providers, curriculum developers,modes of delivery and pedagogical innovations. It is extremely difficult to calculate thenumbers of students engaged in distance education worldwide but the existence ofnearly 24 mega-universities, a number of which boast over one million students,speaks to a quantitatively significant phenomenon. For several decades the sector has been dominated by large-scale 'open' universities(Indira Gandhi National Open University in India counts million students). TheUniversity of South Africa (UNISA) claims to be the continent's premier distancelearning institutions with approximately 250,000 students. The African VirtualUniversity works across borders and language groups in over 27 countries. Much ofthe appeal of distance education is attributed to its ability to accommodate the needsof a wide variety of learners (students located far from educational centers, employedadults, women who are attempting to balance family and school commitments) andeven the incarcerated. Risks and challenges accompany this mode of educationdelivery, the most difficult challenge relates to quality assurance. Looking forward: demographics and the impact of the economic crisisOur goal in this trend report is to provide a sense of the central issues and thecontextual factors that have shaped higher education in the past decade, as well aspresent prospects for the immediate future. We hope to underscore the fact thatalthough many of these trends are not new, we are now confronting implications ofthese courses of action that we did not recognize when they began. Demographics will continue as a driving force for development and reform in thecoming decades. The patterns and geographical scope will vary, but the basic thrustwill remain. In 2008, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and 18/06/2009 11:41 Page xviExecutive Summaryidentified several key demographic trends for the period to 2030. Some of the keyelements are:zstudent participation will continue to expand, as will higher education a few countries will see a contraction in student numbers;zwomen will form the majority in student populations in most developedcountries and will substantially expand their participation everywhere;zthe mix of the student population will become more varied, with greater numbersof international students, older students, part-time students, and other types; zthe social base in higher education will continue to broaden, along withuncertainty about how this will affect inequalities of educational opportunitiesbetween social groups;zattitudes and policies relating to access as well as the consciousness amongdisadvantaged groups will change and become more central to national debates; zthe academic profession will become more internationally oriented and mobilebut will still be structured in accordance with national circumstances;zthe activities and roles of the academic profession will be more diversified andspecialized and subject to varied employment contracts; andzfor many developing countries, the need for ever-expanding numbers ofuniversity teachers will mean that overall qualifications, now rather low, may notimprove much, and current reliance on part-time staff in many countries live today in the midst of a profound economic crisis that will have repercussionsin society at large and within higher education in ways that are not yet clear. Manycountries and universities will experience financial problems with seriousconsequences in the short and perhaps the medium term, although the impact willvary worldwide, with some countries less affected than others. Current estimatesindicate that certain of the least developed countries will be most affected. The crisisis likely to have the following implications: zResearch universities are likely to see significant constraints on their budgets asgovernments will be unable to provide the resources needed for their continuedimprovement. In many cases, the priority will be to allocate funds to ensure thataccess to the higher education system is not dramatically cut. 18/06/2009 11:41 Page xviizIn countries where student loan programs exist, either in the public or privatesectors, severe constraints on their availability to students may be implementedalong with increased interest system will face pressure to establish or increase tuition fees for practices at many universities will result in a deterioration of part-time faculty are likely to be hired, class sizes increased, and additionalactions "Freezes" on hiring, construction of new facilities, improving informationtechnology, and purchasing books and journals are likely one knows how deep the crisis will become or how long it will last. However,most experts are doubtful of a quick recovery. Thus, it is likely that higher educationis entering a period of significant cutbacks. There is no doubt that higher education isentering a period of crisis, unprecedented since World War II, and the full impact isas yet are convinced of the centrality of the higher education enterprise globally and theneed for strong, vibrant postsecondary institutions to support the knowledgeeconomy as well as to provide the knowledge necessary for the social mobility andeconomic progress essential to societies across the role of higher education as a public good continues to be fundamentallyimportant and must be supported. We emphasize this in the trend report becausethis aspect of higher education is easily neglected in the rush for income and multiple and diverse responsibilities of higher education are ultimately key to thewell-being of modern society, but this expanded role adds considerable complexityand many new challenges. Understanding the broader role of higher education in aglobalized world is the first step to dealing constructively with the challenges that willinevitably loom on the horizon. The enormous challenge ahead is the unevendistribution of human capital and funds that will allow some nations to take fulladvantage of new opportunities while other nations risk drifting further behind. xviiiExecutive 18/06/2009 11:41 Page xviiiPublished with support from SIDA/SAREC

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